Recent research has warned of the dangers that come with a sedentary lifestyle, but booking that lunchtime spinning class or after-work gym session isn’t always easy to commit to.
If a desperate search for motivation to work out sounds familiar, this latest exercise news could make a real difference.
Researchers made this discovery after they asked 800 people to sign up for an exercise plan called PennShape, which had a social-media site along with it. To find out how different types of social interaction influenced exercise levels, the participants were split into four groups: individual competition, team support, team competition and a control group.
While people in the individual group were only shown the progress of anonymous team members, those in the team groups were able to see leader boards of other teams. They were also able to chat and encourage each other via the social-media site.
The result? Competition-motivated participants to exercise the most. Attendance rates were 90 per cent higher in the competitive groups than in the controlled group, which was rewarded on individual success.
Damon Centola, the senior author of the paper, summarised these findings.
“Competitive groups frame relationships in terms of goal-setting by the most active members,” he said. “These relationships help to motivate exercise because they give people higher expectations for their own levels of performance.”
It might be time to embrace that team spirit.